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HBT Extra: Previewing the AL West

Mar 14, 2013, 8:50 AM EDT

Kay and I are back from, taping from the Lair, and our first of six quick division previews focuses on the AL West.

Best part: my prediction that Albert Pujols will have a “monster season” based on nothing other than some weird feeling in my bones. And dudes, I swear it’s there. I have no idea why. It’s feelings like that — and my inability to contain such irrational feelings — that keep me from being a true statty baseball analysis. But that’s just where we are.

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  1. proudlycanadian - Mar 14, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    As long as Pujols can continue to have a designated runner such as Vernon, he should have a great year.

  2. seitz26 - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    Maybe this is wishful thinking since I’m an Angels fan, but it looked to me last year like he was just trying way too hard the first month of the season. The harder he squeezed the bat, the worse he did, and the harder he tried. Once he finally relaxed, which coincided with Trout’s recall and subsequent tear (which probably relieved some pressure), he was pretty solid the rest of the way. I think with a season under his belt, and two other superstars in the lineup around him, he won’t feel so much pressure. Just a hunch and a hope.

  3. lewp - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    Lookin dapper Craig… there a way to embed the video or am I missing something?

  4. spudchukar - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    The nod should go to the Angels, but the Rangers should give them a run for their money. The Angel infield sans Pujols doesn’t exactly scare many. The Trumbo experiment at third was a failure, so I assume it is Callaspo who doesn’t offer much pop. The starters outside of Weaver could be problematic. Wilson is overrated, Blanton and Hansen both coming off injuries raise questions. The Vargas acquisition could be the best “get” of the three.

    Lots of depth in the pen, so the early season loss of Madsen shouldn’t prove costly. Nothing is ever certain, but the Trout, Hamilton, and Pujols troika is about as much of a lock as run producers as any team, and if they get help from Trumbo, plenty of runs can be counted on.

    Not sure about Iannetta behind the plate, but the former catcher Scioscia, usually sorts out that position.

    Hard to see how the Rangers score as many runs as they did in 2011-12. And I am not convinced the A’s can reproduce last year’s magic, too many swing and miss guys. The Mariners are improved, but not enough to challenge, and Houston is awful. This division could be the one with only one play-off team, unless the Central and Eastern contenders beat each other up, which is possible.

    The Al West is probably the weakest in the Junior Circuit, and the Angels look to be the class of the division, but not a team that can beat the likes of the Tigers, Rays, or Toronto, and they may not be better than Kansas City or Cleveland.

    • jdd428 - Mar 14, 2013 at 12:51 PM

      I think the Angels and Rangers do have their flaws, but are both still the class of the division. Oakland’s pitching could still be very good but I agree they may have a hard time duplicating that magic. I think Seattle will be better than people think.

      But I disagree with your contention that it will only have one playoff team – precisely because Houston is so awful. The other teams will rack up wins against the Astros. Similarly, I think two of the AL Central teams could get in by beating up on Minnesota.

      Talent-wise, the AL East probably has the most legitimate contenders, but they may all beat each other up all season and therefore might only get the division champ into October.

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